The Logical Philosopher

Friday, January 26, 2007

Mark Twain the Comedian

I was reading a book about Mark Twain which included some excerpts from his publication The Innocents Abroad, which is his travelogue written about the Middle East. I never realized it before, but Samuel Clements, aka Twain, is a pretty funny guy.

Twain on visiting the city of Damascus, discussing their women: "and women so ugly they couldn't smile after ten o'clock Saturday night without breaking the Sabbath."

Twain on his disappointment about the small size of the Sea of Galilee, suggesting it was so tiny that he did not want to pay the boat fare to cross. "Is it any wonder that Christ walked?"

Twain on the dreary scenery of Palestine "If all the poetry ... upon the ... bland scenery of this region were collected in a book, it would make a most valuable volume to burn."

Agree or disagree with his writing, you have to admit his social commentary of the day has hidden zingers that are pretty funny.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

How to get 12 oz of free Starbucks

“May I have a cup of coffee?”

“Certainly!” the barista said with her espresso induced smile. “What size would you like?” She was perky. Too perky. I suspected it was because working at Starbucks and mainlining espresso had made her a morning person, and afternoon person and an evening person - all in the same day.

“Just a cup, I am baking and need a cup for a recipe.”

“Oh, so is that Tall, Grande or Venti? ”

“Which one is a cup? ”

“They all are, which size do you need? ”

“I need a cup, you know like a measurement of a cup” I patiently explained. I was making chocolate chip espresso ice-cream, and was in need of a measured cup of coffee to mix in with the milk.

“Oh, I’m not sure we have that size, just let me check. ” she said, as she leaned around the corner and called out to her co-worker. “Hey Page, this customer needs a cup of coffee for a recipe, which size is that? ”

Her co-worker came out of the back and, after looking thoughtful, turned and asked me “What size of cup did the recipe call for? A Tall, Grande or Venti? ”

What size of cup? I thought, there is only 1 size of cup, and it is a cup! That’s like asking me what weight of one pound did I want the bulk food in.

“Err, excuse me? ” I said, shaking my head. “Ahh, a cup is a cup. You know, a measurement of a cup. ”

Sensing the need for solidarity the first barista chimed in. “Yeah, you can’t just ask for a cup without knowing the size! ”

Now to be fair, I wasn’t sure the size of a cup, in ounces, it was either 8 or 12, I just couldn’t recall at that exact moment. However, I did know enough to realize that things in this world are actually measured in imperial and metric, and not as what the Starbucks branding manual says they are. For all that they knew, I could have been asking for 3840 minims of coffee. That would have really thrown them. The probably would have started to make 3840 cups (the Grande kind).

I stood there, looking at them with a blank expression, wondering how the future of our society was going to start to measure things in relation to brands. I could just envision filling up my car 20 years from now. Excuse me, can you put 5 Big-Gulps of gas in my car for me?

Finally, one barista broke the silence. “How about we just give you a Venti for the price of a Tall. That way if you have too much it won’t matter!”
Arriving home I proceeded to mix up my batch of ice-cream. With copious amounts of coffee left over I looked up the size of my volumes. For the record a Venti = 20 ounces, and 1 cup = 8 ounces. That means in Starbucks terms, a cup of coffee is a Short cup of coffee, and I got a free 12 ounces!

From this experience I think I discovered
the secret Starbucks Training Motto:
If you don't know what the customer wants, throw the offer of free coffee at them.

Mental note: next time I make chocolate chip espresso ice-cream, don’t snack on chocolate covered coffee beans, then have a bowl of the ice-cream at 10 o’clock at night. I was up until 3am with my body shaking from the caffeine intake. At least it gave me time to write this post...

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Divorce Shower

"So it's final?"

"Yep, I'm free ... if you see it that way."

"So it's a congratulations type free?"

She paused and signed, shifting in her seat. "Yeah. I guess. I mean, I'm only 28 and already divorced. Cigarettes and coffee, those are the only pleasures left with me right now!"

"You know what you need."

"what?" the divorcee said, perking up.

"A divorce shower! Like a wedding shower but this time we'll have the Chippendale's!" her friend exclaimed. "And when we're done we'll go back to your place and put everything of his that he hasn't picked up yet up on eBay. So try and swipe his signed Wayne Gretzky Jersey you bought him last year. I mean, think of the divorce vacation you could get cash for!"

I neared my stop I stood, ready to depart the bus, but not before I heard them start into the love/hate portion of their discussion.

"You know what I love about him being gone? I have the whole bed. But you know what I hate about him being gone? Not having someone to warm my cold ass up when I get into bed!"

So let me get this straight. You want the whole bed AND a warm ass. Now I know why so many single women have a cat.

Monday, January 15, 2007

A haiku of why no postings

I was going to write a long post as to why I didn't get anything written up this week, but then thought if I was going to do that I may as well write a post. But then I thought, why not make the best of both worlds and write a haiku poem as to why I didn't write much this week.

Started back to work
after a long time away,
very tired now.

Heard some funny things
on the bus ride my first day,
can't wait to share them.

I did write it down,
what the Catholic bride did say,
about her big day;

The friend of the hoe,
said 'they work hard too you know',
she gets me free drinks.

Then I remembered
what the divorced girl said,
about her cold butt.

Be back later this week!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Internal Stairs

Another visit to the 21st floor, but this time I vowed not to hesitate. Lost in my thoughts of evading reception, I heard a ping as the doors opened. I had not noticed the man behind me push the 20th floor button after I hit the 21st. That simple act of disassociation and ignorance from the acts of people around me set in motion the following event:

I stepped out and pivoted left as planned, but stopped as I became instantaneously disoriented. Things had changed! I paused, and glanced over my shoulder – no reception. I was safe. Or was I? Standing in the middle of an elevator lobby I looked up to see the sign noting the 20th floor. Crap, all this planning and I was on the wrong floor! I stood there thinking Did this ever happen to James Bond? What would 007 do? Adapt! Wait, I'm not 007. Panic!

Before my brain fully realized I should panic instead of adapting a tall brunette walked into the lobby, one hand full of briefs (the legal kind), the other with a tall Starbucks. I must have started to look disconcerted because she turned and looked me up and down then said with a concerned tone “you look like you’re looking for the 21st floor. I’m heading up, or you can take the stairs.” She motioned over to our right where a set of open stairs let upwards.

“Oh, thanks” I mumbled as I readjusted my knapsack, readying myself for a long flight of what looked like about 14 steps.

As the top of the steps was in the same proximity as the reception desk I was sure it would have been noticed if I made an unescorted break for Sandritia’s office. Being the polite Canadian I am, I dutifully checked in with reception. Besides, as I arrived on the 21st floor it was right beside the reception desk and both receptionists watched me ascend, looking at me like I was an obvious visitor. Who ever thought dressing like a writer, not a lawyer, would get me busted! Man, I thought, getting into this building is getting tougher by the visit.

As I checked in with the gatekeepers and took my seat I heard the elevator doors ping. As the doors opened I heard the sounds of a familiar voice chattering away – it was the Starbucks Brunette, from the 20th floor talking with another colleague. Boy, she wasn’t kidding when she said she was heading up – poor assumption on my part when I speculated it was more than 1 floor.

Later, when recounting the strange 1 floor jaunt up the elevator with Sandritia she let out a large gasp. “Nobody takes the internal stairs! Nobody!” she exclaimed, punctuating the final “Nobody” with a hand wave.

I now have clarity to my errors. Next time I know how to evade reception and not be pegged as a visitor. No hesitation AND no stairs.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Not Cool Enough for a Threesome

Last post I found my mojo. This post I lost it.

What a roller coaster week.

Scene 1: At the computer in the kitchen

I have one friend, M, who will ping me with an Instant Message, day or night, whenever he comes online. Even if it is just a "Good Morning LP!" Since M and his wife K live out of town, I use MSN to chat and keep up to date on the latest gossip.

M recently took a trip to Europe for work, but still managed to drop me a MSN nudge when he was online with his laptop. On the home front K had been updating her MSN profile daily with a note about how she was excited to see M in 5, 4, 3... number of sleeps. She was telling me instead of overseas phone calls they just would video conference using MSN. Technology supported love at its best!

Very late one evening in North America I noticed M had just signed in. Being early in Europe, I surmised he was just starting his day so I clicked on his avatar to give him a ping and sent a request to start a IM conversation. Uncharacteristically he didn't reply right away, so I pinged him a few more times to see what could be keeping him. Attached is the following transcript of my conversation:

LP [pinging M]: What's up in Europe?

There was no reply from M, so I thought I should try one more time before signing off and heading to bed.

LP [pinging M]: I see K's countdown to see you is almost at day zero, when are you flying back?

Then, out of the blue I got this instant message from his wife:

K: LP, stop pinging my man! I'm on video conference with him !!!

LP: Oh,

K: You'll have to wait until I'm done! ! !

LP: You can conference me in you know... all 3 of us can get cozy on MSN!

K [after a slight pause]: M says no go! Wait your turn!

LP: So what you're saying is I'm not cool enough to even have a digital threesome with you guys.
K: Nope :)

With that last smiley I realized my recently acquired mojo had evaporated away into the digital environment. Oh well, easy come, easy go.

Scene 2: Corner of Robson & Burrard

Then, out of town with friends a few days later, three of us were discussing where to meet up at the end of our post Boxing Day shopping spree.

"I'll be done by 4, can we meet then?"

"I don't think I'll be finished by then, and I want to stay in the Chapters reading books for free instead of buying them."

"Wait, why don't you just IM me on my phone!"

"Oh, you're right. OK, everybody just IM everyone when you're done shopping and ready to meet up!"

Once settled, and after a moment's pause a thoughtful comment was put out to the group of us. "We're like 12 year olds with our instant messaging!"

"Yes, but since we're all over 30, we're like 12 year olds with MONEY! 30 is the new 12!"


So it is settled. I have no mojo, IM like a 12 year old, but to make up for it I have money. Curses!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Cruising for Pot

This is a story of how I found my mojo one stormy winter night.

Checking the clock for the up-teeth time that hour I slumped back down into my seat. My phone blinked 2:40 pm at me. I was one of the lucky ones – arriving at 12:23 for a 1pm ferry departure that was, unbeknownst to me, had cancelled. Others had been there since well before 8am, a few since dawn.

With the fierce storms that blew in this week it was the second time in a week that the Victoria to Vancouver ferry had cancelled – 18,800 tones and capable of carrying 470 vehicles, it was sailable in the 40 knot winds but docking it safely was another story.

About 15 university students had been in the batch of early arrivals, aiming to be back to their mid-morning classes. With plans foiled and tests missed they did what any other university student would do in their situation – hot-boxed the smoking lounge and lit up some joints. With the vending machines running low tensions grew as a rumor circulated of the 3:00 being cancelled, the weather not letting up for the 6:00 sailing either.

“Passenger in the red car in lane 31, please return to your vehicle.” We heard through the overhead speakers.

“Aggg!” She taunts us so!” cried the kids. “No departure announcement for us!” another cursed, putting he head back onto his pillow made from Biochemistry books.

Then, at 3:14 the phrase we had all been waiting for came. “Ladies and gentlemen, please return to your vehicles, we hare having a 3:30 sailing.”

Cheers erupted from the hot-box, joints were extinguished and munchies finished. At 3:35 we departed, only to get stuck on the tip of the pier by the 40 knot winds. Letting the wind do the work the Captain let the ship slide on the last piling. Once the ships 18,800 tone center of mass moved past the final piling, we felt the ship pivot and then lurch forward as he gunned the engines. Finally, we sailed into the mist and ocean swells.

With a 5 foot rock I opted to endure the journey outside in the fresh air, or so I had hoped. “Got some weed?” a blond in a white pullover asked. I guess they were out. “No, all out” I replied. She must have found another supply because about 20 minutes later I saw most of the students cuddled together under the protection of an awning and windscreen. Passing a joint back and forth they were marveling at the calmness of the ocean. I looked up – 6 foot swells made calm by BC bud. So that’s the secret, I though.

Recounting this story to a friend she exclaimed “You got asked for pot! That is so cool! That’s a sign of respect! You have street mojo!”

"I have mojo! Does this negate one of my Symbols of my Age?" I wondered aloud as a warm feeling of recaptured youth spread through my body.

Unfortunately the glee of finding my Mojo was short lived.

How is that even possible? you are probably thinking. How could I have lost it again so quickly?

Up next: Not Cool Enough for a Threesome.

It will also be know as the post of "How I lost my mojo, the one I had just found".